Fremont, NE: Therapy dogs relieve stress at school

Nov 29, 2017, Fremont (NE) Tribune: Therapy dogs making difference in FPS District … In 2015, the Fremont Public Schools Board of Education added a new policy – 50C.1, which is dedicated to the parameters of how and when a therapy dog can be implemented into a school setting. Following Winston’s successful semester-long pilot program run, the district allowed for more dogs to enter classrooms.... “We have a policy that allows at the administrator’s discretion for students to benefit from therapy animals,” said Brad Dahl, executive director of student services and business affairs. “The policy also allows us to limit how many service animals we allow in the schools. Obviously there is a fine line, because many people do benefit from therapy animals and they help people, but for some people, it might cause a sense of anxiety so we have to be aware of that and balance that perspective as well.” LaVonna Emanuel, FMS principal, said that having animals in the school setting gives students something to look forward to each day. … Both FMS therapy dogs are confined to their own pods on opposite ends of the building – Macy is on the north and Winston is on the south. When students arrive in the classroom, the dogs wander around the classroom and visit students at their desks for a quick petting. Once class gets going, they know their job is to be a bit behind the scenes. … And while the dogs aren’t vocal with their job, they certainly are working. They pace about bringing smiles, changing moods, altering demeanors. In their own way, they are teachers – furry instructors teaching students to smile a little bit more, and perhaps to be a little less stressed.